Devon

Wartime orphan school evacuees reunited in Totnes

Tony Wiggins - 4th left
Image caption Tony Wiggins, fourth from left, with school friends evacuated from Watford

School friends evacuated to Totnes in World War II have been reunited in the town.

Children from Reed's School in Watford - also known as the London Orphans School - took over Seymour Hotel in Totnes for six years, from June 1940.

The reunion marks the 200th anniversary of the founding by philanthropist Andrew Reed of the school.

The school now operates privately in Surrey.

Image caption Reed's School in Watford took over the former Seymour Hotel in Totnes for six years

Once relocated to Totnes, the school took over local buildings as classrooms.

The Dart river steamer booking office became a fifth form classroom and what is the present riverside cafe was the upper and lower fourth form classrooms.

Totnes 'was heaven'

Former pupil Tony Wiggins said: "The school was a very Victorian establishment behind a brick wall, old fashioned with strict discipline.

"Suddenly we were in Totnes with the river alongside. We had small dormitories of five or six boys instead of 30 or 40.

"It was heaven."

He said that in the last year of the school at Totnes, paddle steamers restarted river trips to Dartmouth.

Image caption Tony Wiggins, centre, and old friends are marking the 200th anniversary of their school which was relocated to Totnes

Sometimes boys had got on board at the quay and were late getting back to classes.

"Some people have no affection for their schooldays but we were fortunate to be here," Mr Wiggins continued.

"It's a very nice place to come back to."

The reunion of the Old Reedonians includes a service at St Paul's Cathedral and at The Festival Hall in London.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites